Shaylee Leach

Name: Shaylee Leach

Region: RiverLand, SA

What does your Digital Media involve?

I am a young visual artist, an ‘art/drama kid’, with a niche (and a bit of a crush) on photography. I’m in the process of emerging with my first big leap forward; being a part of the 2011 JUMP mentorship program, being mentored by very successful photo-based artist Deborah Paauwe. I use a few different D/SLR’s, whatever I can get my hands on, I use Photoshop & other software to edit & manipulate my images. I create photographs, stop motion films, to explore places, to tell stories or to project ideas about identity, feelings, themes, ideas, & to capture pretty or ugly things, or people sometimes, re-creating memories with a gloss of fantasy, nostalgia or blurred dreams. I like the idea of using a camera to re-explore the world, looking upon like seeing it for the first time, and this process lets you discover things that you wouldn’t normally see, it has changed the way that I view the world.

I’ve designed, created & managed websites before, using Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, Pegboard & now Joomla. I am currently working on a group project for a website ‘Riverland Youth Connect’, as part of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition’s ‘Online Community Youth Spaces’. Where I am going to put some of my skills to use, and come up with useful & cool looking website design. I’ve also done some in kind design work, & made lots of promotional material using InDesign, Photoshop & word for online distribution.

On top of that I shoot, blog, tweet, tumblr, youtube, facebook, stumble around the internet using social media to connect with people, broadcasting ideas & work, experimenting with the digital media available to me. While lusting over equipment/skills I don’t have (yet!). I’ve seen some great projection stuff, where graffiti was projected onto buildings, & I’ve seen some great sound/images/projection mashups as part of theatre productions & art installations, which I would love to learn so that I can build upon my own art practise.

What does the term “Digital Media” mean to you?

I think its pretty broad, & maybe even vague, to me its something that has been created, edited, processed or even sometimes presented via some kind of digital means, i.e. computers, projectors, etc. I think this is because technology is encroaching on our lives every day, and leaking into how we process information about the world, and how we communicate & express ourselves to each other.

How do you present your Digital Media?

I use digital media alot in a professional, personal and creative context. In creating slideshow presentations for projects, promotional means for work, communicating with friends, blogging seeking and creating opportunities on a personal level.

I do alot of projects from my bedroom, working with friends or family when their available, this stuff which has to be quite innovative & motivated, because your only really doing it for yourself, can be frustrating. But the motivation of knowing that you can share your stuff on the internet, in my experience, keeps me inspired to work harder & to experiment further. I use various websites to present my work, but I’m currently trying to find ‘safer’ & smarter ways to do this, so that I can protect my work from being stolen or used without my permission.

What medium do you work in?

The Cure by Shazzackalee

Visual arts and photography, with touches of photo manipulation, sometimes animation and film.

How did you learn your skills?

School has my generation brought up on computers, as I got older alot of the work transferred from handwriting, to using computers in some capacity in every subject. I’ve formally completed two TAFE courses in dealing with digital media one creative (Cert II in Multimedia) & one in a business context (Cert III in Business arts admin). But alot of the stuff I do is self taught, either from tinkering around figuring out how things work for myself, or from online tutorials.

This year I have been lucky enough to be selected to be a MEGA participant, so I am anticipating having a bit of a leap forward in terms of my skills.

Do you see yourself as a hobbyist, emerging or professional?

In terms of being an artist, I started out as a passionate hobbyist as being mostly self taught, finally giving in to this passion to follow my he(art) so currently emerging, and hopefully continuing into a professional.

I’m not really sure what my benchmark is for how skilled I am yet, in some of my skills comparing myself to an older generation there is quite a gap, because they didn’t grow up using computers in everyday life activities. In this context I have a bit of an advantage, but I know I have alot more to learn & I always want to strive to be better and improve my skills and knowledge.

Portia, by Shaylee Leach

I started off using a really dodgy digital camera & editing them in Fireworks (which is supposed to be used moreso for making websites), because that was the technology available to me, and it was cheaper than going out and buying tangible art supplies, or cameras with film. From there I just kept going.

What are the skills you use in making your work?

The capacity to conceptualise ideas, develop them and then trying to learn/find/experiment skills & resources to make these ideas work.

Is your digital media something you have been drawn to do, or has it been a survival skill ?

Both, I like digital media because it opens up so many more opportunities, and I think its always being necessary, and soon even inevitable I think in a professional sense, to learn at least basic skills which is part of staying up to date. Even with really simple procedures, in boarding school we had to sign in and out with a thumb scanner! Learning new skills to keep up to date is really easy for me, but being able to get your hands on the latest gadgets & resources is the hard part, due to financial, & also availability, especially in a regional context.

Does being familiar with digital media and the tools you use give you any edge in your work or life?

Definitely! I’m known as the ‘tech head’ in my office; I manage the majority of our online content on our website, and got us onto the different & new streams of social media to catch us up to other companies. I’m the one called over to troubleshoot whenever someone is having a technical issue; this includes my father when the remote control for the television is involved.

Where do you see these skills taking you in the future?

Gosh, I don’t really know, I think it will be handy, because I think It will keep me travelling down this stream of where arts, community, technology, learning, sharing, creating all overlap.

What do others think of you and your work?

Artistic, because I don’t think I have the integrity to be geeky, or the enough fluency to be techie. Being artistic leads me to learn more geeky/technical skills, and learning more skills inspires me into thinking of more artistic ideas that I didn’t think would be possible.

Image by Shaylee Leach

Right now I am pretty amazed & infatuated at using Twitter for social networking, keeping up to date with news, having a presence for yourself and the Riverland as a region sharing and finding out about opportunities. Through twitter I have been able to connect with people and professionals that I admire, connect and get to know with likeminded people from Adelaide & I have been alerted to opportunities/prizes/gigs that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Its also really easy to sift through to follow on things that interest you, by using hashtags to connect to people having conversations about the same things, i.e. watching the same doco & commenting on it, cyclone yasi, the Qld floods. (I’m trying to promote Riverlanders to use #RiverlandSA). I also like how easy it is to link things to Twitter, blogs, videos you’ve watched and recommended articles in the newspaper, causes that you support.

I’m also aware of the impact that Facebook can have, it can be really good, because its a social network that the majority of my friends use, but it is very easy to negatively affect your professional image, which is something that alot of 18-19 year olds like myself don’t really think about because its a carefree age, but the things you upload are going to forever be on the internet, & could potentially impact you in your professional context, (employers Facebook stalk too!). Simple precautions like editing your privacy settings & being mindful of the things that you upload or write on there help. But you can go further, by contributing to it in a positive sense. i.e. posting about causes you care about, opportunities for people, promoting yourself as an artist/bands whatever.

Is there anything else ?

Here’s a bunch of links if you want to know more or follow my mediocre adventures:

My online portfolio:
Twitter: /shazzackelee, search the hashtag: RiverlandSA
My blog:
The website I am working on: